Very sad news from the Formula 1 paddock today as McLaren driver Jenson Button’s father, John, has passed away of an apparent heart attack. McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh said:

‘In my long Formula One career, I’ve encountered many drivers’ fathers, but I think it’s safe to say that John was perhaps more devoted to his son than any of them.

‘Ever since Jenson was a boy, racing go-karts, his dad has been at his side, helping him, supporting him, finding the money for the next race.

‘As Jenson grew older, and continued to win in cars, still John was always there, his most steadfast helper and supporter.”

A statement from Jenson’s agent read:

“It is with great sadness and regret that I can confirm John Button passed away at his home in the South of France on Sunday. Whilst we await confirmation, initial signs would indicate a suspected heart attack. A close friend who was visiting John on Sunday was the first to discover the tragic news.

“John’s children Jenson, Natasha, Samantha and Tanya and the rest of the family are clearly devastated and ask for their privacy to be respected during this extremely difficult time.”

John Button was a popular figure in the pitlane of Formula 1. I last saw him in Austin and he looked happy, smiling and glad to be a part of the show. He has always been a strong supporter of Jenson’s career and having lost a father myself, ironically his birthday was yesterday, I know how difficult it can be to have such a supportive, loving person ripped from your life. Jenson will certainly feel the impact, as many men do who lose a father, and we offer our most sincere condolences to the Button family and friends of the late John Button.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Shocks&Awe

    Sad news. John Button was one of the few faces we’d see on the broadcasts that just seemed like a genuine fan. His enthusiasm mirrored ours as F1 fans. A good bloke.

  • peterriva

    A class act. Not a meddler, always supportive, knowledgeable – F1 will miss him.

  • gsprings

    Sad news,it’s the off season, at least Jenson will not have to go out there and race with this fresh on his mind, he should have some time to come to grips with it before the up coming season cranks up full steam

  • gsprings

    Got to admit, I am not a big fan of Jenson,but I did admire the relationship him and his dad had

  • strF1

    feel for jenson and his siblings, I to lost my farther to a shock heart attack coming up 2 years ago and know what a hard time this will be for them all. Jensons hardest times are to come but every day you learn to live with it. not get used to it but learn to live with it.

  • Tom Firth

    Very sad news , my condolences to the family.

  • Jack Flash (Aust)

    Sad news indeed. Sympathies and condolences to the Button family.
    John Button’s broad smile and pink shirts will be sorely missed from F1 broadcasts. JF

    • Cj

      Couldn’t agree more. I can hardly think of a race I’ve watch without a shot of him, and you can hear the commentator smile when they mention his name.
      A true F1 fan for no other reason than he was a fan of his son, and that’s a good thing.
      Sad news

  • John Button was a shining example of a parent who shared a passion with his son, yet never once displayed any sign of vicarious living. He has demonstrated an incredible support to Jenson, from his early days in karting to his present position as one of the Sport’s most respected, trusted and admired drivers. All too often, professional sports families air their private dirty laundry to the general public in the most unprofessional manner, yet Jenson and his father have always demonstrated what a natural and unaffected relationship they have, flying under the radar and keeping their heads down.

    Perhaps the greatest tribute to John Button is the love and respect he has garnered from some of the world’s most respected press. He never once sought fame or attention, he was just content to be who he was; a successful driver in his own right and a wonderfully loving and devoted father to a son that any man would be proud to call his own.

    May John rest in peace; we have lost a true national treasure.

  • jcm

    I’ve always considered jenson to be a class act-the past season was a perfect example of the nobility he showed despite the frustrations experienced by everyone at mclaren. whenever I heard his father being interviewed I was always reminded that ‘the apple doesn’t fall from the tree’.i’ll miss seeing his beaming smile and sensing the obvious pride he had in jenson. I really hope jenson is able to find time to probably what must be a tremendous loss for him send his family.

    • jcm

      “grieve properly”

    • I agree. Could have gone all Pastor on the team but didn’t. Class.